Top 10 of 2014, No. 8: Coding

eSchool News highlights some of the 10 most significant ed-tech developments of 2014, and coding is No. 8

coding-2014Each year, the eSchool News editors compile 10 of the most influential ed-tech developments and examine how those topics dominated K-12 ed-tech conversations. No. 8 on our list for 2014 is coding.

Coding is quickly becoming a course that schools must offer in some way. Computer programming is one of the fastest-growing areas when it comes to STEM careers. But today’s students aren’t necessarily building the skills they’ll need to fill those jobs.

The coding movement, buoyed by the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week, seeks to highlight how accessible coding courses and tutorials are for people of all ages. The efforts appear to be working, because Advanced Placement Computer Science classes saw a huge jump in enrollment this year.

(Next page: Some of the top coding developments in 2014)

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Top 10 of 2014, No. 9: Gaming

eSchool News highlights some of the 10 most significant ed-tech developments of 2014, and gaming is No. 9

gaming-2014Each year, the eSchool News editors compile 10 of the most influential ed-tech developments and examine how those topics dominated K-12 ed-tech conversations. No. 9 on our list for 2014 is gaming.

As educators seek innovative ways to engage students, gaming has emerged as one of the most popular.

When implemented correctly, the right game can teach students how to collaborate and think critically. Educators tout immersive gaming environments as a way to motivate students to take risks and encourage students to think about new ways to solve problems.

(Next page: How gaming impacted learning in 2014)

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12 big education challenges your LMS can solve

An educator shares her biggest challenges and how the right piece of technology can bring a school together

LMS-teachersWith the rapid rise of online technology resources, coupled with the ever-expanding list of the latest teaching strategies, an educator might feel like they are constantly walking through a thick, dark jungle to carve a clear path to harness the power of the hardware, software, and new theories to effectively improve teaching and learning.

But before we can optimize the student’s learning potential we have to face facts. There are a host (well, at least 12) challenges that I’ve identified that educators must first address before classroom models are flexible enough to expand both within and beyond classroom walls, and our solution for helping to solve them.

So my list looks like this:

  1. The Incredible Shrinking Budget. Inadequate funding forces schools to increase class sizes, cut curriculum, eliminate teaching positions, and shift costs for paper, printing and other supplies to parents—leading to the unfortunate education mantra of ‘doing more with less.’
  2. An F for Feedback. Letter grades do not provide students with enough feedback or motivation to improve, especially in the project-based learning world and other student-centered teaching technique. So the question is how do we make the paradigm shift to more meaningful ‘evaluations complete with dialogue’ to support standards-based learning?
  3. Blurred Vision. Districts failing to make major infrastructure improvements in their schools often don’t’ have a clear, consistent visions for success nor the capacity that’s critical for the instructional implementation of technology.(Next page: teacher retention, parent-teacher communication and other top challenges)
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Top 10 of 2014, No. 10: Mobile devices and mobile learning

eSchool News highlights some of the 10 most significant ed-tech developments of 2014, and mobile learning is No. 10

Each year, the eSchool News editors compile 10 of the most influential ed-tech developments and examine how those topics dominated K-12 ed-tech conversations. No. 10 on our list for 2014 is mobile learning.

This year, educators focused on putting mobile devices in students’ hands in an effort to help them learn valuable technology skills that will carry them through college and the workforce.

Initiatives such as one-to-one pilots and bring-your-own-device programs popped up in more and more districts across the nation as school leaders sought to personalize learning and extend technology’s benefits and opportunities to all students.

(Next page: Top trends and developments in mobile learning)

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App of the Week: An anger management tool

anger-appApp name: Calm Counter Social Story & Anger Management Tool

What is it? Calm Counter is a visual and audio tool to help people calm down when they are angry or anxious. The app includes a social story about anger, and audio/visual tools for calming down.

Best for: Students ages 6-8

Price: $2.99

Requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

Features: The app opens up to a “I need a break screen” that vocalizes “I need a break” when it is tapped. The screen then transitions to a red screen with an angry face and the number ten. With each tap the screen transitions to a calmer face and color. In this way, the app prompts the user to count backwards from ten followed by a deep breath.

The app also includes a simple social story with line drawings about anger. The social story talks about feeling angry and things you can do, like counting to ten, breathing deeply and taking a break, to calm yourself down.

The settings screen allows you to choose from male, female or no vocals for counting back from ten and for reading the social story out loud.

Link: iOS

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$200,000 Follett Challenge deadline set for Jan. 9

Challenge awards prizes to three semi-finalists, grand-prize winner, and 10 “People’s Choice” winners

follett-challengeIt has never been easier to enter the Follett Challenge as contest organizers have streamlined the application process and now provide valuable resources and tips to help schools and districts make their entry stand out among their peers. The deadline to enter the fourth annual competition is Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.

A total of $200,000 in products and services from Follett will be awarded to the winning entries. The Follett Challenge is designed to empower educators with a platform to tell the world about how their innovative teaching and learning programs are preparing students for the demands of the 21st century.

Applicants are required to submit an online application, plus a three- to five-minute video. To help entrants, the contest’s website (www.FollettChallenge.com) features a comprehensive, online resource guide, including links to free images, video, music, and audio to help save entrants time searching for these resources. Also, Sue Adelmann, a Follett Challenge judge since the inception, is featuredin a video where she lends perspective into what makes a successful application.

(Next page: Challenge entry details and important dates)

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Why the Modern Data Center Needs More than Legacy Security

GovCTrendMicro200x300With thousands of student records at stake, data security should be every leading educator’s priority. The data center has made rapid development with virtualization and cloud computing, but many school and districts continue to use traditional legacy security, leading to unnecessary complexity and opening the door to potential breaches of personal data.

Deep Security 9 from Trend Micro™ offers advanced protection from disruptions and data breaches, all managed from a single multi-function dashboard. Its seamless integration across multiple cloud environments empowers users to continue doing what they do best with peace of mind.

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